In a phenomenal resurgence of modern spiritualism, gone are the traditional physical appuertenances, reliance now being on the thespian charisma of the medium, the spirit voices produced by them and the percipents' credulity.
Unlike the spiritualists of the previous century whose "controls" were generally of a contemporary nature, today's channelers have moved with the space age.
Daryl Anka, for example, channels "Bashar" from the Essassani civilisation, "300 light years in the future" (light years are, of course, a measure of distance, not time - a fact which seems to have escaped the wisdom of Bashar); Pamela Newstreet "Soncha" from Sirius, and Jannie Sims closer to home with "Leah" from Venus.
None of these visitors deems it necessary to explain how they spanned the enormous distances, or why beings from the advanced technological civilisations one would associate with such an undertaking, their mission seems merely to "hang around" at the beck and call of earthly nonentities.
Other channels are blessed with wisdom from the past; in the case of J.Z.Knight it comes via "Ramatha", a 35,000 year old Atlantean warrior"; to Jac Purcel via "Dr. Peebles", a 17th century Irish doctor, and to Kevin Ryerson (beloved and projected to stardom by Shirley MacLaine) who has earned fame and fortune channeling "Tom McPherson", another 17th century Irishman, this time a professional pickpocket - a rather apt choice when you think about it.
Some channel non-physical entitites, as in the case of Lyssa Royal, her "control" being "Raydia", a "non-physical fifth dimension being from the star Arcturus!
Finally evidence that the spirits fill in the odd spare moment doing a spot of reading can be assumed from the notes, letters and prayers, folded and pushed into the cracks of the Wailing Wall in Old Jerusalem, and letters appearing in the public notices column of newspapers addressed to the Holy Spirit and St. Jude offering thanks for favours received.
Before painting a composite picture of a spirit, I repeat that although most of the examples quoted have come from the reports of distinguished psychic investigators, eminent scientists and reputable members of society, as well as dubious books and sensational tabloids, I am not concerned with the veracity or otherwise, only the image that emerges when the pieces of the jigsaw are put together.
Ignoring the potential for prosthetics offered by mediums who, with apparently effortless ease, manufacture genetically engineered artificial limbs from nitrogen, oxygen and secret herbs and spices unknown to intelligent man. When the aforementioned characteristics, attributes and peculiarities of spirits are amalgamated, it is reasonable to assume, given the above "evidence", that spirits are in fact nothing less than complete corporeal entities who have retained all the faculties and physical characteristics they possessed before departing this world, plus some extra-ordinary and enviable powers.
The inestimable quantity and quality of knowledge that could be attained from past Earth dwellers, never-incarnated spirits and those purporting to come to us from the future, is unfortunately not forthcoming, because the spirits exhibit a singular reticence when it comes to parting with anything more edifying than concoluted pop philosophy, apocalyptic forecasts, homilies, and more often than not, sheer unadulterated nonsense.
Nevertheless, we are led to believe that certain individuals are selected and privileged in an ad hoc fashion to speak and act on their behalf - J.Z.Knight, for example, whose 35,000 year old dead Atlantean warrior, well versed in the intricacies of the Wall Street stock exchange, sells his advice through his control, making her a multi-millionairess.
Likewise Lazaris, an entity whose control claims has never physically existed, has enabled Jac Pursel to build up a flourishing video business selling his spirit's words of wisdom.
Both the fortunes would seem like petty cash, however, when one considers the potential value of invisibility to the various Defence departments, the secret of anti-gravity to NASA, instant transportation facilitating intergalactic exploration, and the overcoming of language barriers just to mention a few, all of which are seemingly second nature once we are freed from our Earthly constraints.
It would appear from the foregoing accounts that there certainly is life after death, and that communication with the departed is, at least according to some, possible.
However, while the credulous may swallow this as a salve for what ails them, sceptics are more inclined to choke, and not without good reason.
To live up to the claims made on their behalf, spirits would of necessity have to live in an invisible material world in proximity to our own - so close in fact, if the evidence is to be believed, as to be within the range of a human whisper or even a thought.
In view of the billions who have passed on since man first evolved, and the incredible pulsating celestial congestion such a concentration of spiritual and material matter would create just above our heads, one would have thought that this would have been an implausible concept even to the most credulous of minds.
The all-transcendent metamorphosis notwithstanding, the activities of spirits are generally confined to simple party tricks and comments incompatible with that which one would expect of the all-seeing, all-knowing.
They also engage in a sacriligeous disregard of the putative worth of their alleged knowledge and talents, by allowing themselves to become commercial puppets in freak side-shows.
Without exception when interviewed, the spirits speaking through their mediums expect to be accepted without question, steadfastly evade questions which seek to authenticate their claimed origins, pompously answer questions with a profundity lacking even a modicum of intellect, expertise or commonsense, and if taxed will explain away, rationalise or invent any excuse no matter how inane or infantile, subordinating intelligent communication to play acting by the medium.
Why should they be so evasive?
Given the "proof" for their existence, one is entitled to ask:
Why would the spirits of the dead bother to get in touch with the living when they have nothing to say?
Secondly, given the death is the last thing that the living look forward to, if it were possible to "come back" after dying, why not do so to those who love, cherish and need them, rather than seek out entrepreneurs who exploit them?
And thirdly, considering the millions that die prematurely and not of their own volition in wards and accidents, why the reticence to "come back" en masse?
The evidence to date, for the existence of spirits from our own and other worlds, can be seen by the critical analyst as being a travesty of serious research, and in the absence of somewhat more substantive and tangible proof, to suggest that communication with the dead is possible is simply wishful thinking by the deluded, whose vulnerability makes them delectable pickings for the carrion crow.
Narendra Nayak, Secretary, S.K. Rationalists Association Microwave Station Road, Mangalore 571 001 (Karnataka).
To, The Editor, The Canara Times, Mangalore.
May I refer to the series of articles on astrology published by CT last week.
I would like to bring to the attention of your readers our views about the 'science' of astrology. In our district this has taken root all over the place and many of us go to the astrologers for advice in taking decisions about many important things in life like marriage, selection of staff, site, career etc.
I have been taking a keen interest in the predictions of these astrologers from the last two decades. Personal experiences apart, the predictions have been quite interesting in the public events. For example in 1977 when Mrs. Gandhi lifted the emergency and declared elections, there was a flood of predictions in the newspapers and magazines about the results of the elections. It was no coincidence that the astrologers in North India predicted Mrs. Gandhi's defeat while those in the South predicted that she would win! The results are known and the predictions more based on the attitudes of the people in the surroundings are now consigned to the dustbins of history. In 1980 when the Charan Singh government fell, again there were predictions. In fact the noted 'scientific astrologer Dr. B.V.Raman predicted that the Janata government would come back consigned this prediction to the waste paper basket where it rightly belonged! Last year, that is in 1989, when Rajiv Gandhi declared elections, the astrology columnists had a field day, but, most of them predicted that he would come back to power. A 'noted' local astrologer has been making predictions about political events and also publishing them as advertisements in one of the local newspapers. In 1977 he had predicted that Mrs. Gandhi would be reelected, achieve majority in the parliament and become the prime minister. Later when there was an election for the Presidents post he predicted that Justice Krishna Iyer would win!
A few personal experiences with astrologers again illustrate that astrology is a fraud. One of my friends once told me that he had an astrologer friend who could correctly state the past by examining the horoscope. On an appointed day we met and my horoscope was read very correctly. My educational qualifications, character, profession and income were told accurately after reading the horoscope! Being very much surprised the accuracy of these I ventured to question the astrologer about his methods and he enlightened me on the subject by pointing out various combinations and placement of planets in various houses etc. But, when I finally revealed to him that the horoscope was not mine but that of my friends brother who had none of the characteristics that he had pointed out, the 'astrologer' was totally flabbergasted and beat a hasty retreat! Our astrologers are such experts at determining traits of candidates for marriage that some communities are totally dependent on their advice! I have come across numerous instances of 'matched' horoscopes ending in divorces and mayhem, but would like to confine myself to one such incident. In one alliance horoscopes had been exchanged and the parties met after getting the opinions of their consultant astrologers. The girls parents had been told that the horoscopes matched very well and the marks were about 90%. The boys relatives were not all agreeable for the match because they said, their astrologer had said that the match was very poor less than 20%! Since they were otherwise agreeable, they decided to go to a third astrologer and before doing so they wanted to find out who the consultant for the other party was. On exchanging notes they found that both of them had consulted the same person! This astrologer matching the same horoscopes had given over 90% for the girl's side and 20% for the boy's side!
In order to bring the arguments for and against astrology to a logical scientific conclusion we have decided to throw a challenge to astrlogers to prove their science of astrology. We offer an award of Rs.50,000 to any one who can just by casting horoscopes mention whether a person is dead or alive, male of female correctly for atleast 19 out of 20 possibilities. This trial will be conducted in a public place in the presence of members of public and press. The challenger will have to place with us a refundable deposit of Rs.1,000 only.
The University of Regensburg neither approves nor disapproves of the opinions expressed here. They are solely the responsibility of the person named below.Gerald_Huber@r.maus.de
Last update: 22 July 1998